Daily Prelims Notes 1 December 2020
- December 1, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR
- ZEBRA FISH
- CAPITAL ACCOUNT CONVERTABILITY
- ANNAPURNA IDOL
- SCO ONLINE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION
- WORLD AIDS DAY
- C32-LH2 TANK
- COVID SURAKSHA
- LA NINA after a decade
1. Commission for Air Quality Management in the NCR
Context: The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated.
- The Ordinance provides for constitution of a Commission for better co-ordination, research, identification, and resolution of problems related to air quality in the national capital region (NCR) and adjoining areas.
- Adjoining areas refers to areas in the states of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh where any source of pollution may cause adverse impact on air quality in the NCR.
Composition of the Commission:
- The Commission will be headed by a full-time chairperson who has been a Secretary to the Government of India, or a Chief Secretary to a State government.
- The chairperson will hold the post for three years or until s/he attains the age of 70 years.
- It will have members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
- It will have experts from the CPCB, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Civil Society.
- In matters of air pollution and air quality management, the Commission will supersede all existing bodies such as the CPCB, and even the state governments of Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. It will have the powers to issue directions to the states.
- CPCB and its State branches have the powers to implement provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1986 for air, water and land pollution. Their powers continue.
- However, in case of dispute or a clash of jurisdictions, the Commission’s writ will prevail specific to matters concerning air pollution.
- The Commission will also coordinate efforts of state governments to curb air pollution, and will lay down the parameters of air quality for the region.
- It will have powers to restrict the setting up of industries in vulnerable areas, and will be able to conduct site inspections of industrial units.
- If its directions are contravened, the Commission will have the power to impose a fine of up to Rs. 1 crore and imprisonment of up to 5 years.
- Only the National Green Tribunal (NGT), and not civil courts, is authorised to hear cases where the Commission is involved.
- The appointment of the Chairperson and members of the Commission will be done by the central government on the recommendations of a Selection Committee. The Committee will be headed by the Minister in-charge of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as the Chairperson.
- Further, the Committee will include the Cabinet Secretary and the Minister in-charge of: (i) Ministry of Commerce and Industry, (ii) Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, and (iii) Ministry of Science and Technology
2. ZEBRA FISH
Context: Scientists at Agharkar Research Institute have used the Zebrafish as a research model and identified genes that can promote heart regeneration. Scientists have sought to decode the heart regeneration processes using this animal model.
- Zebrafish – a tiny freshwater fish barely 2-3 cm long can efficiently regenerate its damaged heart within a short time period.
- Zebrafish is found in the tropical and subtropical regions. The fish is native to South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic plains, where they are mostly found in the paddy fields and even in stagnant water and streams.
- It is a popular aquarium fish, frequently sold under the trade name Danio.
3. CAPITAL ACCOUNT CONVERTABILITY
Context: The RBI Governor recently said that India will continue to approach capital account convertibility as a process rather than an event.
- Capital account convertibility refers to the ease and freedom in converting a country s currency into any other foreign currency (such as US dollar, pound sterling, Euro etc) and vice versa for the capital account transactions.
- It is the freedom to convert the local financial assets into foreign financial assets at the market determined exchange rates. Full capital account convertibility would ultimately lead to unrestricted movement of capital.
- Full capital account convertibility of Indian rupee was not introduced because the prevailing conditions were not in its favour as India was facing a large current account deficit.
- The government wanted to ensure the availability of foreign exchange at lower prices for the input of essential goods and commodities.
- India adopted a cautious approach in the full capital account convertibility of rupee in the view of the Mexican crisis.
- The subsequent East Asian crisis justified the approach of partial capital account convertibility. Earlier also partial capital account convertibility was allowed under certain conditions.
- Complete capital account convertibility can increase the inflow of capital in the country but if the conditions become unfavourable there is a great risk of the outflow of capital from the home country. This can lead to higher volatility in the exchange rates and can even create a crisis like situation as happened during the East Asian crisis.
- Macroeconomic stability in the domestic economy and sufficient degree of competitiveness of the domestic sector firms and companies.
- Trade oriented development strategy must be adopted before-hand along with sufficient incentives by the government for the growth of exports.
- The industrial policy of the country should be attractive for investments and the government should provide a favourable investment climate.
- There should be sufficient foreign exchange reserves and the current account position should also be comfortable.
Context: Prime Minister announced that an ancient idol of the goddess Annapurna, stolen from India about a century ago, is being brought back from Canada.
- This idol was stolen from a temple of Varanasi and smuggled out of the country around 100 years ago somewhere around 1913.
- Annapurna, also spelt Annapoorna, is the goddess of food. The 18th-century idol, carved in the Benares style, is part of the University of Regina, Canada’s collection at the MacKenzie Art Gallery.
- A few weeks ago, Union Culture Minister Prahlad Patel handed over 13th-century bronze idols of Lord Rama, Lakshmana and goddess Sita, which were repatriated from the UK recently, to the Tamil Nadu government.
- Between 2014 and 2020, the government has been able to retrieve 40 antiquities from various countries; between 1976 and 2014, as per ASI records, 13 antique pieces had been repatriated to India.
5. SCO ONLINE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION
Context: Vice President of India & Chair of the SCO Council of Heads of Government in 2020, launched the first ever SCO Online Exhibition on Shared Buddhist Heritage, during the 19th Meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of Government (SCO CHG).
- This SCO online International exhibition, first ever of its kind, is developed and curated by National Museum, New Delhi, in active collaboration with Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member countries.
- The exhibition deploys state of the art technologies like 3D scanning, webGL platform, virtual space utilization, innovative curation and narration methodology etc.
- Buddhist philosophy and art of Central Asia connects Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) countries to each other.
- The visitors can explore the Indian Buddhist treasures from the Gandhara and Mathura Schools, Nalanda, Amaravati, Sarnath etc. in a 3D virtual format.
Subject: Current Events
Context: World AIDS Day is being observed on December 1 to raise public awareness about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS. The theme this year is ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic: resilience and impact.’
- World AIDS Day is observed on the 1st of December, every year, since 1988. World AIDS Day was the first global health day to be celebrated.
- AIDS is the abbreviation for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome. It is a chronic illness, which can also be potentially life-threatening. The disease is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV which affects the human immune system.
- According to the WHO, In 2019, there were still 38 million people living with HIV infection. In 2019, 6.9 lakh people died from HIV-related causes and 1.7 million people were newly infected.
- Since the inception of the National AIDS Control Program in 1992, India has done a commendable job in raising awareness and bringing down the number of HIV infections.
- India is a signatory to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and has committed itself to achieving the target of ending the epidemic of AIDS by 2030.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have described findings leading to so-called “superinfections”. It can also contribute to research on Covid-19.
- The researchers found that different nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, leak from the blood. This creates an environment in the lungs that favours growth of the bacteria.
- The bacteria adapt to the inflammatory environment by increasing the production of an enzyme called HtrA. The presence of HtrA weakens the immune system and promotes bacterial growth in the influenza-infected airways.
- Influenza is caused by a virus, but the most common cause of death is secondary bacterial pneumonia rather than the influenza virus per se.
- Pneumococcal infections are the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia and a leading global cause of death.
- A prior influenza virus infection sensitizes for pneumococcal infections, but mechanisms behind this increase susceptibility are not fully understood.
- Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have now identified influenza-induced changes in the lower airways that affect the growth of pneumococci in the lungs.
8. C32-LH2 TANK
Context: The public sector aerospace manufacturing company, the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) delivered the biggest cryogenic propellant tank C32-LH2 to the Indian Space Research Organisation in Bengaluru.
- The C32-LH2 tank is a developmental cryogenic propellant tank of aluminium alloy designed for improving the payload capability of GSLV MK-III launching vehicle of ISRO.
- The tank designed by HAL can load 5755 kg propellant fuel in the 89 cubic meter volume. Even earlier HAL had partnered with ISRO to supply satellite structures for the PSLV, GSLV Mark II and III launch vehicles.
- Cryogenic fuels are fuels that require storage at extremely low temperatures in order to maintain them in a liquid state.
- These fuels are used in machinery that operates in space because ordinary fuel cannot be used there due to the very low temperatures often encountered in space, and due to absence of an environment that supports combustion.
- Cryogenic fuels most often constitute liquefied gases such as liquid hydrogen.
Subject: Current events
Context: The Government of India (GOI) has announced the third stimulus package of Rs. 900 Crore for the Mission COVID Suraksha- The Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission.
- This grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for Research & Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines.
- The COVID-19 Vaccine development Mission with end-to-end focus from preclinical development through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation for deployment, would consolidate all available and funded resources towards an accelerated product development.
- Led by Department of Biotechnology and implemented by a dedicated Mission Implementation Unit at Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC),the existing activities under National Bio Pharma Mission (NBM) and Ind-CEPI Mission will provide complementary strengths to this Mission.
Context: Developing ocean-atmospheric phenomenon (LaNina) will influence our weather in the coming months
- It means the large-scale cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, together with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure and rainfall.
- It has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Niño, which is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Weather changes because of La Nina:
- The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña.
- East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
- It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
- It could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.
- Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
- In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.